Wow… it’s a little dusty around here… It’s been a minute! Or 6 years (ish)…
Whoops. Time flies when you’re having fun. Or not sure what to write. Or can’t write. Or are embarrassed that it’s been so long so you don’t write.
Anyways… I’m baaacccckkkk!! (I think. For this post at least.)
A lot has happened over the last few years, and maybe someday I’ll get into that. But today I’m choosing to focus on something completely unrelated to my family and what I’ve been up to for the last few years. (Sort of…)
Let’s dive in shall we? There has been a consistent theme over the last few years (or decades, or centuries if we’re really being honest) of the church focusing on the message of judgement and shame, and very little on the message of grace and mercy. Especially in the world of the evangelical church. It’s a focus that I have had an incredibly personal experience with that left me disenchanted with the church. To the point that I nearly left the “Church” all together. Several times. The church has taken the unofficial stance over and over that if you commit a sin, particularly a “visible” one, you bear the weight of your shame forever. Note that I said the word “shame” and not “sin”. The church absolutely preaches that your sin is washed away once you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. But they like to keep the shame of that sin hanging around.
You see shame is an easy tool to keep people in line. All you have to do is remind them of what they once did and they will feel that guilt all over again. And guilty people are easy to manipulate. Into doing whatever is you need or want them to do. Shame brings a sense of worthlessness and people want to feel worthy. Of love, of being liked, of being included and so much more. Shamed people are more likely to agree to things they wouldn’t normally because they want to free themselves of that weight. So they will give a little more. Volunteer more. Do anything they can so they no longer feel the shame of past sins. But yet it never seems to be enough.
But that’s not how it’s supposed to work! Once we are saved, all of our past sins are covered by grace. And each sin that occurs going forward (which will happen. We are still human, living in a fallen world) is forgiven the moment we ask God to forgive us. That doesn’t mean that we don’t still deal with the consequences of our sins. We absolutely still do. But we don’t have to carry the weight of the shame anymore.
If you go all the way back to the very first sin in Genesis 3, you will find the account that most of us are familiar with: Serpent meets woman, woman eats forbidden fruit. Woman shares fruit with man, they feel shame and hide from God. God talks to them about it and lays out the consequences of their actions. But at the end of the chapter, before He banishes them from the garden, God does something that is usually glossed over. He makes them clothes so they no longer have to carry the shame of what they did. He didn’t have to, He could have chosen to let them remain naked. But instead he chose to cover them, with grace and mercy (and clothes).
Consequences do NOT equal shame. And the church has got stop encouraging this lie.
Sin is awful and separates us from God. And the effects can last generations. But the grace and mercy that comes with forgiveness covers the shame. And, oh, the freedom that comes with the weight lifted! A freedom that allows us to really live into the full calling that God has for us.
Church, we have to do better. Let’s stop allowing shame to hinder the work of His Kingdom and let people truly live in the freedom that comes with the forgiveness of sin.